The following is a statement I was asked to write by a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Westchester who, on learning I support the BDS Movement against the government of Israel for it’s mistreatment of, and violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, said she would distribute it to voters in the district. JVP cannot endorse candidates because of it’s 501c3 status, but individual members are free to promote whomever they wish.
As the only “serious” challenger to Sen. Jeff Klein in the race for the 34th Senate District seat, and with a week left before Election Day, it’s incumbent upon me to define the differences between Sen. Klein and myself. The obvious difference is, that as a Green Party candidate, I don’t accept contributions from corporations or PACs. I’m also an advocate for tenant rights and protections, whereas Sen. Klein, who receives much of his contributions from real estate companies and landlords, has opposed legislation that would protect renters..
More concerning and troubling to me, however, is Sen. Klein’s unyielding support of the state and government of Israel, and his attacks and condemnations of any whose opinions differ from his, particularly in regard to the BDS Movement. Sen. Klein has gone so far at to label those who disagree with him and/or support BDS as anti-Semitic. I must take exception to this. It may play well with some of Sen. Klein’s constituents but it is a slap in the face to the growing populations of Middle Eastern and South Asian people within the district, and to all people who have faced social, economic and political injustices.
I stand in full support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement as an effective and non-violent tool for placing pressure on the government of Israel with the goal of bringing about justice and peace between the Palestinian and Israeli people. I support a one secular state solution which is in line with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and the platform of the Green Party of the United States (the full text of the GPUS position is printed below).
In addition, I oppose and will speak out against any legislation that condemns the BDS Movement or stands in the way of citizens and organizations to exercise their right to divest from Israel and their right to free speech in criticizing the government of Israel in it’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
I’m under no illusions that I will win on November 8th. But I do hope that I will have the support and vote of those who believe in people and planet over profit.
Green Party Candidate
From the 2016 Platform of the Green Party of the United States
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.
a. We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.
b. We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region. Still, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.
c. We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.
d. We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apartheid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.
e. We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law.
f. We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.
g. We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel, especially violations committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) as documented in the 2009 “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”(“The Goldstone Report”) authorized by the UN Commission on Human Rights.
h. We recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights; and that, despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the OPT, while Israeli crimes continue with impunity. We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form—remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support. We recall that in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society appealed to the international community to support a BDS campaign against Israel, and that in response the Green Party of the US endorsed this BDS campaign in 2005. Therefore, we support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
i. We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and “facts on the ground” that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.
j. We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We also acknowledge the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among people genuinely seeking peace. As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.